Dust and Scratches
No matter how much you clean film, dust is a continual problem. Unless you are working in a true ‘clean room’ with filtered air, dust will start to accumulate on film within minutes of cleaning it. Drum scans have the advantage of mounting the film between an optically perfect acrylic drum and a sheet of mylar. This means that the film can be cleaned and mounted before any dust starts to accumulate.
The inside surface of the acrylic drum is cleaned before each scan and even if any specks of dust attach themselves (unlikely when the drum is spinning) they will be away from the focal plane of the film and hence will be out of focus.
The surface of the mylar is wiped with antistatic cleaner before scanning starts and dust tends not to accumulate once the drum starts to spin.
We also run a filtered air system and humidifiers to further reduce the dust levels of the scanning environment.
Film can become scratched over time and these small abrasions (or nasty gouges) can appear worse than they are on many film scanners. The optical fluid that is used in mounting film for a drum scanner can ‘fill in’ some scratches and reduce the appearance of most.
Spotting the Scans
Because of these steps, our clients are universally impressed with the lack of dust despite the fact that we don’t do any spotting. The reasons we don’t spot our film are:
- We believe it’s better to prevent dust than to use Photoshop to remove it
- Spotting is very difficult to see in textured areas and trying to remove spots can cause ‘damage’
- The best person to decide on the way to correct any small residual dust is the photographer
If you need spotting for whatever reason, we can offer the service at an hourly rate (in 15 minute blocks).